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Milling a PCB outline on Stickvise

A project log for Stickvise - low profile soldering vise

Stickvise is a low profile vise designed for PCB soldering. This product was born on Hackaday.io.

Alex Rich 03/22/2016 at 15:462 Comments

Still brainstorming the idea of using Stickvise for PCB milling. After a brief chat on Twitter with Danielle Applestone (owner of Other Machine Co. makers of the Othermill) I was inspired to delve further into this possible application. The main issue is full slotting, particularly parallel to the edges of the jaws where the PCB is most likely to slip. This morning I did some testing to see how Stickvise would handle this.

Below are the results, not a bad start - didn't have movement in any of the five test boards I cut out.

Sorry for the absolute bush league mistake of putting my finger over the lens, that's embarrassing. You can see more about the jaw design I'm using in this older project log.

The info on the cut is as follows -

Machine: Tormach 770

Spindle Speed: 10,000 RPM

Feed Rate: 10 in/min

Tool: 1/8" diameter, 2 flute carbide endmill, uncoated, general purpose (I think I got it from McMaster)

Discussions

Jan wrote 03/22/2016 at 17:05 point

You may always add one or two swiveling flat metal pieces to each jaw to clamp down on the material while milling. When done,
just loosen the screw, rotate the clamps out of the way and take out your PCB...

Results may be fine with a factory new end mill but as they come near their service life they tend to put a lot more force into the material. I've seen big metal bars ripped out of vices because of that ;)

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Alex Rich wrote 03/23/2016 at 00:04 point

That's a great point, my preliminary test doesn't prove that movement won't happen as the endmill gets dull.  I question what the value of a vise is if you also have to clamp on top of the workpiece though.  I wonder if there is a clever way I could lock the PCB in without resorting to a top clamp.

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